CIOs at leading technology companies are looking to increase hiring of IT professionals in the fourth quarter of 2010, but are having troubling finding qualified candidates.

So says Robert Half, anyway. In its Professional Employment Report for Q4 of 2010, the recruiter found that 84 percent of CIOs were optimistic about their organization's ability to expand in the next three months, but only at a modest 3 percent. 

Tech companies will hire new employees at about half the pace of other industries for two reasons: the lagging economy and the inability to find qualified IT specialists. Fifty one percent of the surveyed CIOs said a lack of tech talent prevented them from filling open positions, up 7 percent from last quarter.

The top positions in demand are network administrators experienced with cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Software as a Service (SaaS); applications developers and Web developers; and help desk and desktop support professionals.

Robert Half International's study was promising overall, finding that 86 percent of executives in major industries are "very" or "somewhat" confident that their companies will record significant sales and earnings growth in the fourth quarter.

-- Chandler Harris